The Ethics of Canine Care

Relationships Generate Responsibilities


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About the Book

The social status of dogs has changed dramatically in the past 75 years. Today, most dog owners and small animal veterinarians consider companion canines to be members of their families and communities. However, the attitudes of some dog owners concerning their responsibilities to their dogs—and many of the laws that regulate dog ownership and veterinary medical practice—largely reflect the human/canine relationship and ethical norms of an earlier era. This incongruity leads to unmet needs for companion canines and high levels of stress for many veterinary clinicians.
This book presents arguments for human responsibilities to companion canines, a detailed analysis of what those responsibilities entail, and the professional ethical standards and laws needed to ensure that responsibilities are met. A new moral framework—the Custodial Property Framework—is created for the care and medical treatment of companion canines, and is grounded in a detailed analysis of the responsibilities of care generated by the relationship we have with our “best friends.”

About the Author(s)

Craig Banks Merow, PhD, is a University of Pennsylvania and Michigan State University (MSU) trained bioethicist who has taught medical and veterinary ethics at MSU and Temple University. He lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Craig Banks Merow
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 231
Bibliographic Info: 3 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8798-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5117-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface: A Moral Problem in Need of a Solution 1
Introduction: A New Moral Framework 9
One. The “New Work of Dogs” 15
Two. Relationships Generate Responsibilities 41
Three. Responsibilities of Care 83
Four. Meeting Responsibilities 131
Five. “The Personal Is Philosophical Is Political” 162
Key to Abbreviations 189
Chapter Notes 191
Bibliography 208
Index 219

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “This book should be required reading for anyone who has ever cared for a dog in any capacity.”—Leslie Irvine, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Psychology Today.